SEWARD, Neb. – For the seventh time this season, the third-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team will take on a ranked opponent when it welcomes No. 9 Friends University to Seward for a 4 p.m. tipoff on Tuesday. The Bulldogs are 6-1 this season when playing inside Walz Arena and sport a 48-7 (.873) home record since the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
Admission will not be charged on Tuesday afternoon in appreciation of all Seward community members and Bulldog fans who support the Concordia University athletics department. A live webcast of the contest will be available via the Concordia Sports Network.
Thanks to an offensive explosion in recent weeks, ninth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has won each of its last five games by margins of 22 points or more as part of an active nine-game winning streak. Over the past four contests, Concordia has averaged 101.8 points per game while reaching the century mark three times. Over that stretch, the Bulldogs have made at least 11 treys in each game while going a combined 53-for-140 (.379) from beyond the 3-point arc. Concordia has moved up to No. 6 among all NAIA Division II teams with an average of 84.5 points per game (No. 1 in the GPAC).
Morris eyes Conahan
Senior All-American point guard Bailey Morris jumped up another rung on the program’s all-time scoring list by totaling a game high 29 points in the 100-70 win at Dakota Wesleyan on Dec. 19. After passing Shelly Poppe (1,630 points), Morris now ranks seventh with 1,650 points in 115 career games. That figure puts the native of Clay Center, Neb., just six points away from former teammate and current assistant coach Kristen Conahan (1,656 points) for sixth on the chart. Morris also ranks fourth in Bulldog history in steals (323) and seventh in assists (389). She’s the only player in program annals to amass 1,600+ points, 400+ rebounds, 375+ assists and 300+ steals for a career.
Peitz joins 1,000-point club
Senior Tracy Peitz, a 2013-14 third team All-American and GPAC defensive player of the year, became the 23rd member of the program’s 1,000-point club by recording nine points as part of the win at Dakota Wesleyan. The native of Hartington, Neb., now with 1,001 career points, needs 10 more rebounds to become the 10th ever Concordia women’s basketball player to eclipse 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. She is coming off a career best junior season in which she averaged 13.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.4 assists per game.
Senior class zeroes in on 100 wins
Very few classes in any sport in the history of Concordia athletics can claim the level of success authored by the 2014-15 Bulldog women’s basketball seniors. With a four-year record of 98-19, the current seniors, led by Bailey Morris and Tracy Peitz, need just two more wins to become only the second class in program history to reach that lofty win total. Seniors Sarah Harrison and Kari Saving (top two scorers in school history) led a class that went a combined 123-21 (.854) and made two national tournament semifinal appearances from 2001-05. The current group of six seniors has won two GPAC regular-season titles, a GPAC tournament title and has advanced as far as the semifinals of the national tournament.
Concordia ran the gauntlet over its first 10 games, facing six ranked opponents and another that had been receiving votes in the national poll at the time of the game. The Bulldogs have won five of six contests against top 25 foes, capturing victories over No. 5 Hastings (68-65), No. 6 Saint Xavier (81-64), No. 7 Jamestown (90-72), No. 17 Mayville State (89-79) and No. 21 Doane (62-54). Three-straight wins over top 20 opponents to begin the season allowed Concordia to move from No. 9 in the preseason poll to No. 3, where it has remained in back-to-back rankings. Olson’s program has an active streak of 42-conseuctive top 25 rankings.
Best of the best
A member of the league routinely regarded as the top women’s basketball conference in NAIA Division II, the Bulldogs have paced the league over the past four seasons with a record of 58-11 (.841) in GPAC regular-season play. Top-ranked Morningside carries a conference mark of 56-11 (.836) during that same time frame. Concordia’s conference records since 2011-12 are 18-2, 16-4, 16-4 and 8-1.
Friends sports 2-0 record vs. GPAC opponents
Friends University, an institution located Wichita, Kan., and affiliated with the NAIA’s Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, will play a GPAC opponent for the third time this season when the action tips off on Tuesday. The Falcons (12-2) own wins over No. 5 Hastings (61-53) on Nov. 28 and Doane (74-60) on Nov. 29. Fifth-year head coach RaeAnne Boothe relies upon senior guard Kayla Mollere (team leader in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks) and a stingy defense that, among all NAIA Division II teams, ranks first in field goal percentage defense (.312) and seventh in scoring defense (53.6). The ninth-ranked Falcons, who sit atop the KCAC, have reached the national tournament in each of the last three seasons.